Veterans, newcomers, all set for full new season in Turkish cinema
Although there has been a visible rise in recent years in the number of films produced by the Turkish cinema industry, these figures are not the sole measure in evaluating the progress made in Turkish film.
There will be numerous fresh faces and filmmakers having their names run for the first time on the silver screen when the new movies of the upcoming season make their debut in theaters from September. Of course, already well-known directors work hard too. Here is a summary of Turkish productions of the upcoming season:
Movies being anticipated with curiosity
"Kabadayı" (Bully) by Ömer Vargı: Featuring screenplay by Yavuz Turgul, the film stars both veterans and young actors such as Şener Şen, Kenan İmirzalıoğlu, İsmail Hacıoğlu and Ruhi Sarı. The movie, which recounts the story of an old bully who has to fight the mafia for his son, will open Dec. 14.
"Yumurta" (Egg) by Semih Kaplanoğlu: Starring Nejat İşler, Saadet Işıl Aksoy, Ufuk Bayraktar, Tülin Özen, Gülçin Santırcıoğlu and Kaan Karabacak, the movie is about a poet who returns to his homeland years later upon his mother's death.
"Mülteci" (Refugee) by Reis Çelik: The movie, set to open on Sept. 21, centers on the story of a youngster who escaped to Germany in fear for his life. Derya Durmaz and Haluk Piyes play the leading roles.
"Rıza" by Tayfun Pirselimoğlu: The film will open on Oct. 26. Starring famed actors Rıza Akın, Nurcan Eren, Turgay Tanülkü, Menderes Samancılar and İstar Gökseven, the storyline follows the experiences of a truck driver from Adana during his brief stay at a hotel in the small town of Küçükpazar.
"Yaşamın Kıyısında" (The Edge of Heaven) by Fatih Akın: Winner of the best screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival, the film will finally open in Turkish theaters on Oct. 26. Starring Nurgül Yeşilçay, Tuncel Kurtiz, Baki Davrak and Hana Schygulla, the film revolves around the stories of six people whose lives intersect with a death.
"Ulak" (The Messenger) by Çağan Irmak: Irmak's favorite actors Çetin Tekindor, Yetkin Dikinciler, Hümeyra, Şerif Sezer and Feride Çetin star in "Ulak," which is based on a legend set in a vague time and place. Meanwhile, Irmak's debut feature, "Bana Şans Dile" (Wish Me Luck), will open on Oct. 5. Deniz Uğur, Melisa Sözen and İsmail Hacıoğlu star in the movie about a troubled pupil who terrorizes his school.
"Anka Kuşu" (Phoenix) by Mesut Uçakan: Yalçın Dümer, Kenan Bal, Ceren Öztürk and Rahmi Dilligil play the leading roles in the movie which recounts the story of Selman, who starts a new life in İstanbul after losing his family at an early age. The movie underlines the dilemma Selman has to deal with in between the culture he was raised in and the metropolitan culture he has to live in.
"Saklı Yüzler" (Hidden Faces) by Handan İpekçi: With Cem Bender and Füsun Demirel in the title roles, the movie addresses the social issue of "honor killings" and will open on Nov. 23.
"Hicran Sokağı" (Grievance Street) by Safa Önal: The movie, which brings veterans of Turkish cinema such as Türkan Şoray, Cüneyt Arkın, Hülya Koçyiğit and young thespians Arda Esen, Ahu Türkpençe and Pelin Batu together on the silver screen, will open on Dec. 7.
"Ara" (Ambivalence) by Ümit Ünal: The film, where fresh faces Erdem Akakçe, Betül Çobanoğlu, Serhat Tutumluer and Selen Uçer play the leading roles, centers on the relationships between four characters throughout their 10-year friendship.
"Şanjan" (Opalescence) by Aydın Sayman: The director tells a complex love story between a pretty young girl, an old man and a handsome young man. Berk Hakman, Çetin Öner, Seyven Katırcıoğlu and Aykut Oray play the leading roles.
"Suna" by Engin Ayça: Türkan Şoray, Gülsen Tuncer and Demir Karahan play the title roles in the film, which recounts the events that four friends -- two girls and two boys from the '68 generation -- go through in the 2000s.
"Sacayağı" (Trivet) by Berrin Dağçınar: Starring Zeki Alasya, Tarık Pabuççuoğlu and Haldun Boysan, the film tells the story of a sick boy, the son of one of three close friends.
"Zeynep'in Sekiz Günü" (Eight Days of Zeynep) by Cemal Şan: Fadik Sevin Atasoy, Fırat Tanış and Sinan Albayrak star in the film that delves into issues such as alienation, love, loneliness and despair.
"İki Çizgi" (Two Lines) by Selim Evci: Gülçin Santırcıoğlu and Haluk Piyes play the leading roles in the film, which underlines the difference between the male and female identities; the action takes place in a metropolitan city and the story becomes a sad one.
"Fikret Bey" (Mr. Fikret) by Selma Köksal: The film, which was first screened at the İstanbul International Film Festival, depicts a day in the life of the bankrupt Fikret Bey. The movie in which Erol Keskin, Fuat Onan and Gökçe Algan play the lead roles will open in movie theaters on Nov. 16.
"Sıfır Dediğimde" (When I Say Zero) by Gökhan Yorgancıgil: Famous thespians Oktay Kaynarca, Hazım Körmükçü, Görkem Yeltan and Semih Sergen act in this film based on a story of the weird behavior exhibited by a young girl under hypnosis. The movie will open on Nov. 2.
"Kiralık Oda" (Room for Rent) by Murat Ergün: First-time feature film director Ergün is also featured in the cast, along with actors Tamer Karadağlı, Olgun Şimşek and Mehmet Ali Alabora. The film, which will open Jan. 4, depicts the incidents that happen in a room rented by a man who wants to make a fresh start to his life.
"Musallat" (Haunt) by Alper Mestçi: Both written and directed by Mestçi, this movie featuring Burak Özçivit, Biğkem Karavus and Kurtuluş Şakirağaoğlu in the title roles, is about creatures that haunt characters Suat and Nurcan. The film opens Nov. 16.
"Beyaz Melek" (White Angel) by Mahsun Kırmızıgül: Arabesque singer Kırmızıgül tries his hand at directing with this film starring veterans Erol Günaydın, Emel Sayın, Müşfik Kenter and Gazanfer Özcan. Details of the plot for the movie have been kept strictly under wraps, but rumors say it will include lessons for the young generation.
"İki Koca Adam Bir Küçük Bebek" (Two Big Men, One Little Baby) by Hasan Kırcı: The movie, starring Ali Başar, Kadim Yaşar and Nilüfer Aydan, tells the story of two men who grew up on the streets and their relations with kids who now experience similar lives.
"İyi Seneler Londra" (Happy New Year, London) by Berkun Oya: Ülkü Duru, Denis Lavant, Ali Atay, Zuhal Olcay and Hugh Hayes star in this film which depicts the coincidences famous singer Yaşar Nur runs into in London.
"Kutsal Damacana" (Sacred Demijohn) by Ahmet Yılmaz: Famed comedians Şafak Sezer, Settar Tanrıöğen and Erdal Tosun will star in the film which has a screenplay written by the popular comedians of the humor magazine LeMan, hinting at how hilarious the film will be. The film opens Dec. 21.
"Kara Toprak" (Black Earth) by Tarık Akan: İsmail Hacıoğlu, Deniz Sezer, Halil Ergün and Müşfik Kenter assume the title roles in this film which centers on the story of a revolutionary young girl and a pianist with a backdrop of the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980.
"Gitmek" (To Go) by Hüseyin Karabey: Based on a true story with real characters, the movie recounts the reunion story of northern Iraqi Kurd Hama Ali and thespian Ayça, who lives in İstanbul; both play themselves in the movie.
[IN THE WORKS]
Upcoming productions by prolific directors
Hasan Karacadağ is currently working on a new movie titled "Semum" following his 2006 horror film "Dabbe." The film, starring Burak Hakkı, Ayça İnci, Nazlı Ceren Argon and Cem Kurtoğlu, tells of extraordinary creatures that possess the body of a woman.
Director Biray Dalkıran will narrate the story of a mentally ill youngster in "Cennet" (Heaven), where Engin Altan Düzyatan, Zeynep Pabuçcuoğlu, Fahriye Evcen and Mehmet Birkiye play the leading roles. Ulaş Ak will present his latest film "Avrupalı" (The European) to moviegoers on Oct. 12. The movie, starring Cem Davran, Yasemin Kozanoğlu, Sema Öztürk and Aydemir Akbaş, is a comic take on Turkey's Europeanization process, told via the relationship between a Greek and a Turkish family.
Independant filmmakers Reha Erdem, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Zeki Demirkubuz and the team of Yeni Sinemacılar (New Moviemakers) are also working on new projects while Derviş Zaim is continuing with his new movie "Nokta" (The Dot), about the art of calligraphy.
Ömer Uğur is currently busy forming the cast for his upcoming prison drama called "Firar" (Escape). Meanwhile Sinan Çetin has secretly completed filming on a movie called "Yankee Go Home," but the film's opening date is still undetermined.
Two films recounting the life story of Sufi saint and poet Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi are in the works. One of them is expected to open on Nov. 16 with screenplay by Ömer Lütfi Mete and direction by Kürşat Kızbaz. The other Mevlana movie, slated to open Dec. 14, is co-directed by Sinan Çetin and Fatih Aksoy and stars Kenan Işık in the title role. A film recounting the tragedies of Turkish soldiers who froze to death during the Sarıkamış campaign in World War I is expected to start filming in January and will star Özcan Deniz, Fikret Kuşkan and Altan Erkekli in leading roles.